Instagram announced earlier this week that they would be rolling out tests of a new feature in the US. The new feature, or more accurately removal of a current feature, will seek to hide likes on the popular photo sharing platform.
The company has acknowledge that 'like' culture can be very harmful and toxic to users, who often unhealthily compare themselves to others based on like counts. The testing has already been rolled out in other countries over the past year, including Australia, Japan, Canada, and Ireland. The tests do not remove likes from the entire population of users within each country, but removes them for a portion so the company can compare and contrast user experiences with and without the like count.
Removing the likes on the platform does not mean the ability to like a post is going away. People will still be able to double tap a photo to indicate their appreciation for the post, and users will still be able to see their own amount of likes so 'influencers' and business people can keep up with analytics. The main focus is to not show to the general public how many likes a post has and therefore cut out the overthinking and comparisons individuals process through upon viewing a post.
I can't speak to how well this will work or has worked in other countries as likes are fairly ingrained into the platform, but it is at least nice to see the company taking some social responsibility and try to aid their users into healthier mindsets.
Check out this CNN Business article to learn more about the changes and what they mean for users.
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